COMPARATIVES OF THE GOSPELS
A) THE AUTHORS OF THE FOUR GOSPELS ENDEAVORED TO CONVEY WHO JESUS WAS, WHAT HE DID AND WHAT HE SAID
The authors of the four gospels endeavored to convey Who Jesus was, what He did and what He said.
B) IF DIFFERENT CONTENT FROM ELSEWHERE CAN BE FOUND THAT MIGHT FIT THE CONTEXT OF A PASSAGE IN VIEW; THAT DOES NOT LEGITIMIZE IMPOSING THIS CONTENT UPON THE PASSAGE AS IF THAT CONTENT OCCURRED WITHIN THAT PASSAGE
If different content from elsewhere can be found that might fit the context of a passage in view; that does not legitimize imposing this content upon the passage as if that content occurred within that passsage.
C) THE GOSPEL AUTHORS MADE KEY SELECTIONS OF JESUS' ACTIONS AND TEACHING; THEY DID NOT COVER EVERYTHING HE SAID AND DID
Since each of the four gospels is relatively short; and since Jesus was reported in Scripture to have taught on many occasions in Jerusalem and in other parts of Judea, and Galilee; in cities, villages, the wilderness; to Jews and Gentiles at length; and since people of the Middle East were accustomed to lengthy expositions - certainly more lengthy than the accounts in all four gospels; and since it was reported in Scripture many times how people marveled how authoritative and knowledgeable Jesus was, (Mt 7:28-29; 13:54, 56; Mk 6:2; Lk 4:22, 32, 36; Jn 6:42; 7:46); then we may conclude that the gospel authors made key selections of Jesus' actions and teaching; and did not cover everything He said and did.
1) [Compare Jn 21:25]:
(Jn 21:25 NASB)
"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they
were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not
contain the books that would be written."
D) THE CONTENT OF EACH GOSPEL CAN NEVER BE FOUND TO CONTRADICT BUT ALWAYS CORROBORATES THE OTHER GOSPELS AND ALL SCRIPTURE IN EVERY RELEVANT AND COMPARABLE INSTANCE. ALLEGED CONTRADICTIONS ARE RESOLVED WHEN RULES OF LANGUAGE, CONTEXT AND LOGIC ARE PROPERLY APPLIED.
The content of each gospel can never be found to contradict but always be found to corroborate the other gospels and all Scripture in every relevant and comparable instance when interpreted correctly via the normative rules of language, context and logic - a result which is beyond the capacity of finite and flawed man. Hence the gospels corroborate themselves as historically valid and trustworthy. For throughout history, no group of individuals, no matter how brilliant, or well intentioned or well organized, has ever been able to produce separate, flawless accounts of events of the complexity and number of those surrounding Jesus Christ such as done by the gospel writers. Alleged contradictions are resolved when rules of language, context and logic are properly applied
E) THE EVIDENCE PROVIDED BY PROPERLY EXAMINING THE CONTENT OF THE GOSPELS NEITHER DEMANDS THAT INDIVIDUALS FABRICATED FALSE HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS, NOR NECESSARILY COPIED FROM ONE ANOTHER, NOR NECESSARILY USED A COMMON SOURCE OUTSIDE OF JESUS HIMSELF. THE GOSPELS' INERRANT QUALITY HENCE THEIR PERFECT CORROBORATION WITHOUT CONTRADICTION WITH THE REST OF SCRIPTURE IS REVEALED WHEN THEY ARE COMPARED PROPERLY WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE NORMATIVE RULES OF LANGUAGE, CONTEXT AND LOGIC WITH ONE ANOTHER AND WITH THE REST OF SCRIPTURE IS SOMETHING WHICH IS BEYOND THE CAPACITY OF FINITE AND FLAWED MAN WITHOUT DIVINE INSPIRATION. NO GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, NO MATTER HOW BRILLIANT, OR WELL INTENTIONED, OR WELL ORGANIZED, HAS EVER BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE FLAWLESS ACCOUNTS OF EVENTS OF THE COMPLEXITY AND NUMBER SUCH AS THOSE SURROUNDING JESUS CHRIST AS THE GOSPEL WRITERS DID. THE QUALITY OF THE GOSPELS CORROBORATES THEIR HISTORICAL VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS. THE AUTHORS OF THE GOSPELS - THREE OF WHOM WERE EYE WITNESSES, TWO OF WHOM WERE OF THE TWELVE DISCIPLES, AND ONE OF WHOM PROVIDED MULTIPLE EYE WITNESS ACCOUNTS - WERE KNOWN TO HAVE PROCLAIMED ABOUT JESUS FOR YEARS AFTER THE LORD HAD ASCENDED TO HEAVEN. HENCE THEY DID NOT NEED A SECRET SOURCE OR ORAL TRADITION OR COLLABORATION OR VIVID IMAGINATION. THEY ONLY NEEDED TO WRITE DOWN PRECISELY WHAT THEY HAD WITNESSED AND HAD BEEN PROCLAIMING ALL THOSE YEARS
The evidence provided by properly examining the content of the gospels neither demands that individuals fabricated false historical accounts, nor necessarily copied from one another, nor necessarily used a common source outside of Jesus Himself. Their inerrant quality, hence their perfect corroboration without contradiction with the rest of Scripture revealed when compared properly within the framework of the normative rules of language, context and logic with one another and the rest of Scripture is something which is beyond the capacity of finite and flawed man without divine inspiration. This comparison is especially significant when the gospel content is compared with Old Testament prophecies about Jesus which resulted in perfect fulfillment in every comparable instance! No group of individuals, no matter how brilliant, or well intentioned, or well organized, has ever been able to produce the flawless accounts of events of the complexity and number such as those surrounding Jesus Christ as the gospel writers did. The quality of the gospels corroborates their historical validity and trustworthiness. The authors of the gospels - three of whom were eye witnesses, two of whom were of the twelve disciples, and one of whom provided multiple eye witness accounts, (Lk 1:1-4) - were known to have proclaimed about Jesus for years after the LORD had ascended to heaven. Hence the writers did not need a secret source or oral tradition or collaboration or vivid imagination. They only needed to write down precisely what they had witnessed and had been proclaiming all those years.
There is a convincing absence throughout history of tangible proof of collaboration or invention which might have produced the gospel accounts. If any collaboration or invention occurred, the question must be asked why evidence is lacking of someone who lived during the alleged historical time when the actions of Jesus were purported to have occurred according to the gospels, who had objectively testified that what was written in the gospels was not historically accurate.
Note from the diagram above, that almost all of Mark's content is found in Matthew and Luke. Mark's content focused on Jesus' actions and parables, especially His miracles, which had its key purpose to address the crowds as to who Jesus was as opposed to instructing those who aspired to be Jesus' disciples. Furthermore, the gospels of Matthew and Luke have a large amount of material in common that is not found in Mark - much of which is teaching as opposed to miracles and parables. Hence one may not logically conclude that Mark was the key source for the content of Matthew or Luke.
The frequency of the appearance of similar excerpts of Jesus' actions in Matthew, Mark and Luke, especially miracles and parables is not necessarily attributable to Mark as the source as some contend, or to any source other than Jesus Himself. For the possibility has not been ruled out that these commonalities are due to them being the most notable, significant excerpts of Jesus' actions relative to the particular purposes of each author when he wrote what he wrote - especially after decades of each author's proclamation and teaching the truths about Jesus Christ before each put it in writing. So it is evident that the authors of the synoptics were motivated to proclaim and write about a number of common purposes which often prompted them to select the same or similar excerpts from the actual actions and teachings of Jesus Christ which purposes, in the final analysis, were the purposes of Jesus Christ leading to the commonalities in their respective writings. On the other hand, where the gospel authors differed in their selection of a purpose of Jesus Christ to proclaim, it can be expected that the excerpts of Jesus' actions and teachings that the author selected, were likely to be different from the content of the other gospels.
|CHART #1 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Pre-existence/Diety/Incarnation of Christ||`||`||`||1:1-18|
|Genealogy of Jesus through Joseph
|Geneaolgy of Jesus through Mary||`||`||3:23-38||`|
|Gabriel announces John the Baptist's birth||`||`||1:1-25||`|
|Gabriel visits Mary||`||`||1:26-38||`|
|Mary visits Elizabeth, John the Baptist's mother||`||`||1:39-56||`|
|Birth of John the Baptist||`||`||1:57-80||`|
|Angel visits Joseph in a dream||1:18-25||`||`||`|
|Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem||`||`||2:1-7||`|
|Shepherds visit Jesus
|Circumcision of Jesus||`||`||2:21||`|
|Jesus presented in the Temple||`||`||2:22-38||`|
|Wise men bring gifts||2:1-12||`||`||`|
|Joseph's family escapes to Egypt||2:13-15||`||`||`|
|Herod's wrath on Bethlehem's children||2:16-18||`||`||`|
|Joseph's family settles in Nazareth||2:19-23||`||2:39||`|
|Childhood of Jesus||`||`||2:40-52||`|
|JohnBaptistAnnouncesJesusAsMessiah/Repent=believe for eternal life in KgdomHeaven, (Isa 40)||3:1-12||1:1-8||3:1-20||1:19-35; 3:1-21|
|John baptizes Jesus||3:13-17||1:9-11||3:21-23||1:29-35|
|Temptation of Jesus||4:1-11||1:12-13||4:1-13||`|
|The 1st disciples||4:18-21||1:16-21||5:1-11||1:35-51|
|The 1st miracle - turning water to wine||`||`||`||2:1-12|
|1st temple cleansing/JesusSpeaksOfHisResurrection||cf 28:5-7||cf 16:5-7||cf 24:4-8||2:13-25, cf. 20:1-10|
|Disciples baptize many in Judea||`||`||`||3:22-24|
|Disciples ask John about Jesus||`||`||`||3:25-36|
|Herod imprisons John the Baptist||4:12||1:14||3:19-20||`|
|CHART # 2 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Jesus withdraws from Judea||`||`||`||4:1-3|
|Samaritan woman at Jacob's well||`||`||`||4:4-26|
|Disciples question Jesus||`||`||`||4:27-38|
|Samaritans come to Jesus||`||`||`||4:39-42|
|Jesus continues toward Galilee||`||`||4:14-15||4:43|
|The 1st rejection in Nazareth||`||`||4:16-30||`|
|Arrival in Cana of Galilee||`||`||`||4:43-45|
|The 2nd miracle - Official's son healed||`||`||`||4:46-54|
|Jesus settles in Capernaum||4:13-17||1:14-15||4:31-32||2:12; 6:17, 24, 59|
|Jesus begins to call certain ones to be His disciples||4:18-22||1:16-20||5:1-11||1:35-42|
|Demoniac in Capernaum Synagogue||`||1:21-28||4:33-37||`|
|Peter's mother-in-law healed||8:14-17||1:29-31||4:38-39||`|
|Many healed at sunset||`||1:32-34||4:40-41||`|
|Disciples seek Jesus||`||1:35-38||4:42-43||`|
|Jesus preaches in the Synagogues||4:23-25||1:39||4:44||`|
|Jesus preaches in Simon's boat||`||`||5:1-3||`|
|Miraculous catch of fish||`||`||5:4-11||`|
|Jesus heals a leper||8:2-4||1:40-45||5:12-16||`|
|Jesus cures a paralytic||9:2-8||2:1-12||5:17-26||`|
|Matthew (Levi) called to be a disciple||9:09||2:13-14||5:27-28||`|
|Parables at Levi's reception||9:10-17||2:15-22||5:29-39||`|
|Jesus in Jerusalem at the 2nd Passover||`||`||`||5:01|
|Man healed at pools of Bethesda||9:10-17||~3:1-6||~6:6-11||5:2-15|
|Jesus challenged:Healing on Sabbath-seek to kill Him||~12:9-14||~3:1-6||~6:6-11||5:16-47|
|Disciples pick grain on the Sabbath||12:1-8||2:23-28||6:1-5||`|
|Man's hand healed on the Sabbath||12:9-14||3:1-6||6:6-11||~5:2-15|
|Jesus withdraws to the sea||12:14-21||3:07||`||`|
|CHART # 3 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Many follow Jesus to be healed||4:23-25||3:7-12||`||'|
|Jesus prays on a mountain||`||`||6:12||'|
|Jesus selects 12 disciples||`||3:13-19||6:12-16||'|
|Jesus descends and heals the multitude||`||`||6:17-19||'|
|Jesus ascends to address the multitude||5:01||`||'||'|
|Sermon on the Mount/eternal life impossible by wks||5:1-8:1||`||~6:20-49||~3:18|
|Jesus heals a Centurion's servant||8:5-13||`||7:1-10||'|
|Widow of Nain's son is raised||`||`||7:11-17||'|
|John sends 2 disciples to question Jesus||11:2-6||'||7:18-23||'|
|Jesus commends John the Baptist||11:7-19||'||7:24-35||'|
|Jesus rebukes 3 cities, He came from the Father||11:20-30||'||'||5:43; ~7:25-30; 8:14|
|Jesus dines with Simon the Pharisee||'||'||7:36-50||'|
|Jesus heals a demon-possessed man||12:22-23||3:20-22||'||`|
|The sign of Jonah||12:38-45||`||'||`|
|Family seeks Jesus||12:46-50||3:31-35||8:19-21||`|
|Parables by the Sea||13:1-35||4:1-34||8:4-18||`|
|Parables explained and told in private||13:36-53||'||'||`|
|Orders to cross the Sea of Galilee||8:18||4:35||8:22||`|
|Jesus calms a stormy sea||8:23-27||4:36-41||8:23-25||`|
|Legion cast out of violent man||8:28-34||5:1-20||8:26-39||'|
|Jesus sails to Capernaum||9:01||5:21||8:40||'|
|Jairus asks Jesus to heal his daughter||9:18-19||5:22-23||8:41-42||'|
|Ill woman is healed by touching Jesus||9:20-22||5:24-34||8:42-48||`|
|Daughter's death is reported to Jairus||'||5:35-36||8:49-50||'|
|Jesus raises Jairus' daughter to life||9:23-26||5:37-43||8:51-56||`|
|CHART # 4 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Jesus heals two blind men||9:27-31||'||`||'|
|Jesus heals a mute demoniac||9:32-34||`||'||'|
|The 2nd rejection in Nazareth||13:54-58||6:1-6||'||'|
|12 sent out to preach||9:35-11:1||6:7-13||9:1-6||'|
|Death of John the Baptist||14:1-12||`||'||'|
|Herod fears John the Baptist has risen||'||6:14-29||9:7-9||'|
|12 return and they withdraw||14:13||6:30-32||9:10||6:01|
|Jesus teaches and heals the multitude||14:14||6:33-34||9:11||6:02|
|Jesus feeds 5,000||14:15-21||6:35-44||9:12-17||6:3-14|
|Jesus prays alone||14:22-23||6:45-47||'||6:15|
|Jesus walks on water||14:24-27||6:48-52||'||6:16-21|
|Peter walks on water, then sinks||14:28-33||'||'||'|
|Healings in Gennesaret||14:34-36||6:53-56||'||`|
|Jesus Bread of Life, believe on Him unto eternal life||'||'||'||6:26-66|
|Traditions of men rebuked||15:1-11||7:1-16||'||`|
|Parable explained in private||15:12-20||7:17-23||'||`|
|Gentile woman's faith||15:21-28||7:24-30||'||`|
|Jesus heals a deaf man||'||7:31-37||'||`|
|Many healed on a mountain||15:29-31||'||'||`|
|Jesus feeds 4,000||15:32-39||8:1-10||'||`|
|Pharisees seek a sign||16:1-4||8:11-13||'||`|
|Leaven of the Pharisees||16:5-12||8:13-21||'||'|
|Blind man cured in Bethsaida||'||8:22-26||'||'|
|Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, Son of God||16:13-20||8:27-30||9:18-22||6:68-69|
|Jesus rebukes Peter||16:21-28||8:31-9:1||9:18-27||'|
|CHART # 5 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Elijah discussed while descending||17:9-13||9:9-13||`||'|
|Demon is cast out of boy||17:14-18||9:14-27||9:37-43||'|
|Disciples ask about the miracle||17:19-21||9:28-29||'||'|
|Jesus discusses his death||17:22-23||9:30-32||9:44-45||'|
|Jesus pays Temple tax with a miracle||17:24-27||`||'||'|
|Disciples argue about who is the greatest||18:1-6||9:33-37||9:46-48||'|
|John's zeal without understanding||'||9:38-42||9:49-50||'|
|Warnings about stumbling blocks||18:7-11||9:43-50||'||'|
|Parable about the lost sheep||18:12-14||'||'||'|
|Instructions on church discipline||18:15-20||'||'||'|
|Peter's question about forgiveness||18:21-35||'||'||'|
|Feast of Tabernacles at hand||'||'||'||7:02|
|Brothers advise Jesus to go to Jerusalem||'||'||'||7:3-8|
|Jesus stays behind, later goes to Jerusalem alone||'||'||'||7:09-10|
|Jesus determined to go to Jerusalem, despite risk||'||'||9:51||7:10|
|Messengers sent to Samaria to prepare way||'||'||9:52-53||`|
|James and John rebuked for attitude||'||'||9:54-56||`|
|People afraid to risk speaking openly of Jesus||'||'||'||7:11-13|
|Jesus' remarkable teaching in Jerusalem temple||'||'||'||7:14-18; 46|
|Jesus' teaching from God Who sent Him, is w/out sin -||~11:25-30||'||'||5:43; 6:44; 8:14; 7:16-18; 28-29, 33|
|Jewish rulers seek to seize Jesus to kill Him||~21:26||~11:18||'||7:19-36, 44; 8:20; 10:39|
|Jesus provides defense for healing on Sabbath||'||'||'||7:20-24|
|Peoples' misconception re: Who the Messiah will be||'||'||'||7:25-27; 40-44|
|Multitudes amazed at Signs, believed in Jesus||'||'||'||7:31|
|Last day of Feast of Tabernacles||'||'||'||7:37|
|Believe in Jesus - receive living water = the Spirit||'||'||'||3:3-16; 7:37-39|
|CHART # 6 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Division among the people about Jesus||'||'||`||7:40-44|
|Pharisees question officers' failure to seize Jesus||'||'||'||7:45-47|
|People, officers, Nicodemus favor Jesus - condemned||'||'||'||7:48-53|
|Rulers show ignorance of Scripture re: Messiah||'||'||'||7:45-52|
|Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives||'||`||'||7:45-52|
|Teaches at temple in the morning||'||'||'||8:02|
|Adulterous woman brought to Jesus||'||'||'||8:3-11|
|Light of the world||'||'||'||8:12-20|
|Sent by the Father||'||'||'||8:21-30|
|Temple debate about father Abraham||'||'||'||8:31-59|
|Jesus leaves the temple||'||'||'||8:59|
|Jesus heals a man born blind||'||'||'||9:1-7|
|Neighbors question the former blind man||'||'||'||9:8-12|
|Pharisees question man's parents||'||'||'||9:13-34|
|Jesus finds the man||'||'||'||9:35-39|
|Pharisees ask if they are blind||'||'||'||9:40-10:6|
|Jesus explains he is the Good Shepherd||'||'||'||10:7-18|
|Division among the Jews||'||'||'||10:19-21|
|Seventy sent out||'||'||10:1-16||'|
|Jesus privately blesses the 12||'||'||10:23-24||'|
|Lawyer tests Jesus||'||'||10:25-28||'|
|Parable of the Good Samaritan||'||'||10:29-37||'|
|Martha prepares while Mary listens||'||'||10:38-42||'|
|Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray||'||'||11:1-13||'|
|Blasphemy and teachings on demons||'||'||11:14-26||'|
|CHART # 7 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|A woman blesses Mary||'||'||11:27-28||'|
|Sign of Jonah||'||'||11:29-32||'|
|The lamp of the body||'||'||11:33-36||'|
|Lunch with a Pharisee||'||'||11:37||'|
|Jesus does not wash his hands||'||`||11:38||'|
|Jesus pronounces woes on the Pharisees||'||'||11:39-44||'|
|Jesus pronounces woes on the Lawyers||'||'||11:45-52||'|
|Jesus leaves, and they plot against him.||'||'||11:53-54||'|
|Jesus teaches a great crowd||'||'||12:1-12||'|
|Jesus warns against greed||'||'||12:13-15||'|
|Parables about being ready||'||'||12:16-40||'|
|Fate of Galileans reported to Jesus||'||'||13:1-5||'|
|Parable of the fig tree||'||'||13:6-9||'|
|Woman healed on the Sabbath||'||'||13:10-13||`|
|Synagogue official opposes Jesus||'||'||13:14-17||`|
|Parables of mustard seed and leaven||'||'||13:18-21||'|
|Feast of Dedication in the temple||'||'||'||10:22-23|
|Jews confront Christ||'||'||'||10:24-39|
|Jesus goes to Aenon near Salim||'||'||'||10:40-42|
|Jesus travels toward Jerusalem||'||'||13:22||'|
|How many will be saved?||'||'||13:23-30||'|
|Pharisees warn Jesus about Herod||'||'||13:31-35||'|
|In a Pharisee's house on the Sabbath||'||'||14:01||'|
|Man with dropsy healed||'||'||14:2-6||'|
|Parable of the guests||'||'||14:7-11||'|
|CHART # 8 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Parable to the host of the feast||'||'||14:12-14||'|
|Parable of the dinner||'||'||14:15-24||'|
|Great multitudes travel with Jesus||'||'||14:25||'|
|The cost of discipleship||'||'||14:25-35||'|
|Eats with tax collectors and sinners||'||`||15:1-2||'|
|Lost sheep, coin, and son||'||'||15:3-32||'|
|Parable of the unrighteous steward||'||'||16:1-13||'|
|Pharisees scoff. Teaching on divorce.||'||'||16:14-18||'|
|The rich man and Lazarus||'||'||16:19-31||''|
|Jesus instructs disciples||'||'||17:1-10||'|
|Lazarus of Bethany reported sick||'||'||'||11:1-6|
|Jesus delays for 2 days||'||'||'||11:06|
|Jesus prepares 12 to go to Judea||'||'||'||11:7-16|
|Arrives near Bethany, 2 days later||'||'||'||11:17-18|
|Martha meets Jesus||'||'||'||11:19-29|
|Mary comes to Jesus||'||'||'||11:30-37|
|Jesus comes to the tomb||'||'||'||11:38|
|Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead||'||'||'||11:39-44|
|Unbelievers report to Pharisees||'||'||'||11:45-46|
|Conspiracy to kill Jesus||'||'||'||11:47-53|
|Jesus goes to Ephraim||'||'||'||11:54|
|Ten lepers are cleansed||'||'||17:11-14||'|
|Samaritan returns to thank Jesus||'||'||17:15-19||'|
|Pharisees ask about the Kingdom||'||'||17:20-21||'|
|Jesus warns disciples about the future||'||'||17:22-37||'|
|Parable of the unjust judge||'||'||18:1-8||'|
|Parable of the Pharisee and tax collector||'||'||18:9-14||'|
|CHART # 9 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Jesus goes to Judea by the Jordan||19:01||10:01||`||'|
|Multitudes follow Jesus||19:02||'||'||'|
|Pharisees question Jesus about divorce||19:3-9||10:2-9||'||'|
|Disciples question Jesus about divorce||19:10-12||10:10-12||'||'|
|Jesus blesses little children||19:13-15||10:13-16||18:15-17||'|
|Rich young ruler/eternal life impossible by wks||19:16-26||10:17-27||18:18-27||'|
|First shall be last discourse||20:1-16||'||'||'|
|Jesus predicts death on road to Jerusalem||20:17-19||10:32-34||18:31-34||'|
|Request for James and John||20:20-24||10:35-41||'||'|
|Relationship of disciples to each other||20:25-28||10:42-45||'||'|
|Blind men healed near Jericho||20:29-34||10:46-52||18:35-43||'|
|Zaccheus is converted near Jericho||'||'||19:1-10||'|
|Jesus is near Jerusalem||'||'||19:11||'|
|Blind men healed near Jericho||'||'||19:12-27||'|
|Journey toward Jerusalem for Passover||'||'||'||11:54|
|Jesus discussed by Jews and Priests||'||'||'||11:55-57|
|Jesus in Bethany||'||'||'||12:01|
|Mary anoints Jesus in Simon's house||'||'||'||12:2-8|
|Mary's deed recounted||26:6-13||14:3-9||'||'|
|Crowds come to see Jesus and Lazarus||'||'||'||12:09|
|Chief priests conspire to kill Lazarus||'||'||'||12:10-11|
|Jesus ascends toward Jerusalem||21:01||11:01||19:28||'|
|Two disciples get a colt||21:1-7||11:1-7||19:29-35||'|
|Triumphal entry into Jerusalem||21:8-11||11:7-10||19:35-38||12:12-18|
|Jesus weeps for Jerusalem||'||'||19:41-44||'|
|CHART # 10 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Jesus enters Jerusalem then goes to Bethany||'||11:11||`||'|
|Jesus curses a fig tree||'||11:12-14||'||'|
|The 2nd temple cleansing||21:12-13||11:15-17||19:45-46||'|
|Jesus heals many in the temple||21:14||'||'||'|
|Jewish leaders seek to destroy Jesus||21:15-16||11:18||19:47-48||'|
|Jesus leaves Jerusalem||21:17||11:19||'||'|
|The withered fig tree (next morning)||21:18-22||11:20-26||'||'|
|Authority challenged in the Temple||21:23-27||11:27-33||20:1-8||'|
|Parable of the two sons||21:28-32||'||'||'|
|Parable of the vine growers||21:33-46||12:1-12||20:9-18||'|
|Parable of the wedding feast||22:1-14||'||'||'|
|Jews question on paying taxes||22:15-22||12:13-17||20:19-26||'|
|Sadducees question the resurrection||22:23-33||12:18-27||20:27-40||'|
|Scribes and Pharisees question Jesus||22:34-40||12:28-34||'||'|
|Jesus questions them about baptism||22:41-46||12:35-37||20:41-44||'|
|Warnings about Scribes and Pharisees||23:1-39||12:38-40||20:45-47||`|
|The widow's mite||'||12:41-44||21:1-4||`|
|Disciples admire the temple||24:1-2||13:1-2||21:5-6||`|
|4 fishermen question Jesus||24:3||13:3-4||21:07||'|
|Jesus warns disciples of persecution||24:4-14||13:5-13||21:8-19||'|
|Jesus predicts the fall of Jerusalem||24:15-28||13:14-23||21:20-24||'|
|Jesus teaches about the 2nd coming||24:19-31||13:24-27||21:25-28||'|
|Parable of the fig tree||24:32-33||13:28-29||21:29-31||'|
|Warnings to be alert||24:34-51||13:30-37||21:32-36||'|
|Parable of the 10 virgins||25:1-13||'||'||'|
|Parable of the talents||25:14-30||'||'||'|
|Warnings about the Judgment||25:31-46||'||'||'|
|CHART # 11 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Jesus predicts day of crucifixion||26:1-2||'||`||'|
|People come early to hear Jesus teach||'||'||21:37-38||'|
|Greeks seek Jesus||'||'||'||12:20-22|
|Final public appeals to unbelievers||'||'||'||12:23-50|
|Plot to kill Jesus||26:3-5||14:1-2||22:1-2||'|
|Judas bargains to betray Jesus||26:14-16||14:10-11||22:3-6||'|
|Peter & John sent to prepare for Passover||26:17-19||14:12-16||22:7-13||'|
|Fellowship in the upper room||26:20||14:17||22:14||'|
|Jesus washes the disciples' feet||'||'||'||13:1-20|
|The Lord's Supper||26:26-29||14:22-25||22:14-20||I Cor 11:23-29|
|Jesus predicts his betrayal||26:21-25||14:18-21||22:21-23||13:21-26|
|A new commandment||'||'||'||13:31-35|
|Dispute about the greatest disciple||'||'||22:24-30||'|
|Jesus predicts the disciples' denial||26:31-32||14:27-28||'||'|
|Jesus tells Simon he prayed for him||'||'||22:31-32||'|
|Jesus predicts Peter's denials||26:33-35||14:29-31||22:33-34||13:36-38|
|Jesus warns the disciples to be prepared||'||'||22:35-38||'|
|Jesus comforts the disciples||'||'||'||14:1-4|
|Jesus responds to Thomas||'||'||'||14:5-7|
|Jesus responds to Philip||'||'||'||14:8-21|
|Jesus responds to Judas not Iscariot||'||'||'||14:22-31|
|They sing a hymn and leave||26:30||14:26||'||14:31|
|The farewell discourse||'||'||'||15:1-16:33|
|Jesus prays for his disciples||'||'||'||17:1-26|
|The fellowship enters Gethsemane||26:36'||14:32||22:39-40||18:01|
|Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane||26:36-46||14:32-42||22:40-46||'|
|CHART # 12 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Mob comes to arrest Jesus||26:47:00||14:43||`||18:2-3|
|Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss||26:48-50||14:44-45||22:47-48||'|
|Jesus answers the mob with authority||'||'||'||18:4-9|
|Peter severs the ear of Malchus||26:50-54||14:46-47||22:49-50||18:10-11|
|Jesus heals the high priest's servant||'||`||22:51||'|
|Jesus is arrested. The disciples flee.||26:55-56||14:48-52||22:52-54||18:12|
|Jesus lead to high priest's house||26:57:00||14:53||22:54||18:13-14|
|Peter follows at a distance||26:58:00||14:54||22:54||18:15-16|
|Peter's 1st denial - doorkeeping girl||26:69-70||14:66-68||22:55-57||18:17-18|
|Annas questions Jesus||'||'||'||18:19-24|
|Peter's 2nd denial - by the fire||26:71-72||14:69-70||22:58||18:25|
|Peter's 3rd denial - relative of Malchus||26:73-75||14:70-72||22:59-62||18:26-27|
|Guards beat Jesus||'||'||22:63-65||'|
|False witnesses testify||26:59-61||14:55-59||'||'|
|Caiaphas condemns Jesus||26:62-66||14:60-64||22:66-71||'|
|Sanhedrin beats Jesus||26:67-68||14:65||'||`|
|Jesus lead from Caiaphas to Praetorium||'||'||'||18:28|
|Remorse of Judas||27:1-10||'||Acts 1:16-20||`|
|Jesus before Pilate||27:1-14||'||23:1-7||18:29-38|
|Jesus before Herod||'||'||23:8-10||'|
|Herod's soldiers mock Jesus||'||15:1-5||23:11-12||'|
|Pilate releases Barabbas||27:15-26||15:6-15||23:13-25||18:38-40|
|Pilate's soldiers crown and mock Jesus||27:27-30||15:16-20||'||19:1-3|
|Pilate tries to release Jesus||'||'||'||19:4-7|
|Pilate questions Jesus again||'||'||'||19:8-11|
|Pilate tries to release Jesus again||'||'||'||19:12|
|Pilate sentences Jesus||'||'||'||19:13-15|
|CHART # 13 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified||'||'||`||'|
|Jesus carries the cross||'||'||'||'|
|Simon of Cyrene bears the cross||27:31-32||15:20-21||23:26||'|
|Jesus speaks to weeping women||'||'||23:27-32||'|
|Jesus is brought to Golgotha||27:33||15:22||23:32-33||'|
|Soldiers offer Jesus sour wine mix||27:34||15:23||'||'|
|He is crucified on the 3rd hour||'||15:25||'||'|
|2 robbers are crucified with Jesus||27:38||15:27-28||23:33||'|
|Inscription written by Pilate||27:37||15:26||23:38||'|
|Soldiers divide the garments of Jesus||27:35-36||15:24||23:34||'|
|"Behold your mother."||'||'||'||'|
|Multitudes mock Jesus||27:39-43||15:29-32||23:35-37||'|
|Robbers mock Jesus||27:44||15:32||23:39||'|
|One robber rebukes the other||'||'||23:40-41||'|
|"…you will be with me in Paradise."||'||'||23:43||`|
|Darkness from 6th to 9th hour||27:45||15:33||23:44-45||`|
|"Eloi, Eloi, Lamma, Sabachthani"||27:46||15:34||'||`|
|Jesus is offered sour wine on a reed.||27:47-49||15:35-36||'||'|
|"It is finished."||'||'||'||'|
|Jesus cries out||27:50||15:37||23:46||'|
|"Into Thy hands I commit my spirit."||'||'||23:46||'|
|Jesus bows his head and dies||27:50'||15:37||23:46||'|
|Temple veil torn from top to bottom||27:51'||15:38||23:45||'|
|Saints rise, after Christ's resurrection||27:52-53||'||'||'|
|CHART # 14 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Centurion glorifies God||27:54:00||15:39||23:47||'|
|Multitude leaves grieving||'||'||23:48||'|
|Women watch from a distance||27:55-56||15:40-41||23:49||'|
|Request that legs be broken||'||'||'||19:31-32|
|Soldier pierces Jesus' side||'||`||'||19:33-34|
|Fulfilment of prophecy||'||'||'||19:35-37|
|Joseph requests body from Pilate||27:57-58||15:42-43||23:50-52||19:38|
|Centurion reports that Jesus is dead||'||15:44-45||'||'|
|Joseph takes the body||'||15:45||'||19:38|
|Nicodemus and Joseph prepare the body||'||'||'||19:39-40|
|Body placed in new garden tomb||27:59-60||15:46||23:53||19:41-42|
|Two Mary's watch the burial||27:61||15:47||23:54-55||'|
|Roman soldiers guard the tomb||27:62-66||'||'||'|
|Two Mary's prepare spices and then rest||'||'||23:56||'|
|Angel rolls stone||28:2-4||'||'||'|
|Women bring spices to tomb at dawn||28:1||16:1-4||24:1-3||20:01|
|Jesus' resurrection/ Angels appear to women||28:5-7||16:5-7||24:4-8||20:1-10|
|Women run to tell disciples||28:8||16:08||24:9-11||20:2|
|Peter and John inspect the empty tomb||'||'||24:12||20:3-9|
|Peter and John go home||'||'||24:12||20:10|
|Mary Magdalene stands weeping||'||'||'||20:11|
|Mary sees two angels||'||'||'||20:12-13|
|Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene||'||16:09||'||20:14-17|
|Jesus appears to other women||28:9-10||'||'||'|
|Women report to the disciples||'||16:10-11||'||20:18|
|Guards report to the priests||28:11-15||'||'||'|
|Jesus meets 2 on road to Emmaus||'||16:12-13||24:13-32||'|
|CHART # 15 - DESCRIPTION OF EVENT||MATTHEW||MARK||LUKE||JOHN|
|Jesus appears to Simon Peter||1st Cor 15:5||'||24:34||'|
|Two report to disciples in Jerusalem||'||'||24:33-35||'|
|Jesus appears to disciples without Thomas||'||'||24:36-46||20:19-24|
|Disciples report to Thomas||'||'||'||20:25|
|Jesus appears to disciples including Thomas||'||16:14||'||20:26-29|
|Jesus appears to seven by the sea||'||'||'||21:1-14|
|Jesus questions Peter 3 times||'||'||'||21:15-23|
|Jesus appears to 500 bretheren||1st Cor 15:6||'||'||'|
|Jesus appears to James||1st Cor 15:7||'||'||'|
|Jesus commissions the apostles||28:16-20||16:15-18||24:44-49||'|
|Jesus is received into Heaven||'||16:19-20||24:50-53||'|
|John's first testimony||'||'||'||20:30-31|
|John's second testimony||'||'||'||21:24-25|
|Luke summarizes the 40 day appearances||'||'||Acts 1:4-11||'|
The authors of Matthew, Mark and Luke evidently selected for the most part excerpts from Jesus' actions and teachings that were directed toward the crowds - those who were not aspiring yet to be disciples. Whereas the author of the gospel of John included excerpts in addition to those which addressed the crowds as the synoptic gospels did which comprised doctrines of the faith that should most effectively have been presented to His disciples; although crowds of those who did not yet aspire to be disciples were often around Jesus as He instructed His disciples. Notice that during the early ministry of Jesus, a ruler of the Jews, Nicodemus sought Jesus out as a man from God not for miracles but to confirm Who He was relative to spiritual matters; whereupon the LORD instructed him on how to become born again and receive eternal life through a moment of faith alone in Him alone through God's giving of His one and only Son via an atoning sacrifice for sins. On the other hand, the rich young ruler did not quite come to the point of accepting Jesus as the One from God as Nicodemus did. Hence Jesus gave him the the impossible task of earning his way into the kingdom. He did not provide him with what Nicodemus was given in order to become born again, because he was not ready to accept his spiritual bankruptcy.
F) ALL FOUR GOSPELS FREQUENTLY REFER TO OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE IN SUCH A MANNER THAT THEY OBLIGATE EACH READER, JEW OR GENTILE, TO THOROUGHLY RESEARCH THE PARTICULAR PASSAGES REFERRED TO. HENCE THE GOSPELS ARE LARGELY JEWISH IN TONE: EVEN JOHN, ESPECIALLY MARK AND LUKE, AND EMPHATICALLY, MATTHEW
All four gospels refer to Old Testament Scripture in such a manner that they obligate each reader, Jew or Gentile, to thoroughly research the particular passages referred to. Hence the gospels are largely Jewish in tone: even John, especially Mark and Luke, and emphatically, Matthew.
G) SCRIPTURE INDICATES THAT THE EARLY YEARS OF THE CHURCH WERE PREDOMINATELY JEWISH IN CHARACTER AND CENTERED IN JERUSALEM UNTIL SCATTERED. HENCE THE FIRST WRITINGS OF THOSE IN THE CHURCH, MATTHEW, MARK AND OF LUKE WHO REPORTED OBSERVATIONS OF THOSE WHO WERE EYEWITNESSES OF JESUS FOCUSED THEIR ATTENTION LARGELY UPON JEWISH BELIEVERS AND OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE, WITH A VIEW TO GETTING THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT ETERNAL LIFE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN CANNOT BE ATTAINED VIA WORKS, BUT THROUGH THE MESSIAH JESUS WHO WAS AT HAND
Scripture indicates that the early years of the church were predominately Jewish in character and centered in Jerusalem until scattered due to persecution as indicated in the Book of James (~46 AD: Jas 1:1-4 ). Hence the first writings of those in the church, Matthew, (~50-60 AD); Mark, (~64-65 AD), and Luke, (~early to mid-sixties AD) who reported observations of those who were eyewitnesses of Jesus focused their attention largely upon Jewish believers and Old Testament Scripture, with a view to getting them to understand that eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven cannot be attained via works, but through the Messiah Jesus Who was at hand . Thereafter, as the church spread out to include Gentiles, especially with the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Some time later, the Apostle John wrote his gospel, (~90 AD), which was evidently directed to Jews and Gentiles.
H) [SAME CONTENT, SAME EVENT]
EACH GOSPEL AUTHOR HAS SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM JESUS' ACTIONS AND TEACHING. SOME OF THESE EXCERPTS, ALTHOUGH NOT WORDED PRECISELY THE SAME, HAVE THE SAME CONTENT AS EXCERPTS FOUND IN ANOTHER OR OTHER GOSPELS, WHICH THE LATTER EXCERPTS IN THESE GOSPELS OCCUR IN THE SAME TIMEFRAMES OF THE CORRESPONDING FORMER EXCERPTS.
IN OTHER WORDS, MORE THAN ONE GOSPEL AUTHOR HAS REPORTED THE SAME ACTION OR TEACHING THAT JESUS MADE AT THE TIMEFRAME OF THE SAME EVENT NOT NECESSARILY IN THE SAME WORDS
Each gospel author has selected excerpts from Jesus' actions and teaching. Some of these excerpts, although not worded precisely the same, have the same content as excerpts found in another or other gospels, which the latter excerpts in these gospels occur in the same timeframes of the corresponding former excerpts. In other words, more than one gospel author has reported the same or similar action or teaching that Jesus made at the timeframe of the same event(s); and it all depends upon context as to whether or not the events in view in the various passages are identical or not - on a case for case basis.
I) [SAME CONTENT, DIFFERENT EVENT]
EACH GOSPEL AUTHOR HAS SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM JESUS' ACTIONS AND TEACHING. SOME OF THESE EXCERPTS, ALTHOUGH NOT WORDED PRECISELY THE SAME, HAVE THE SAME CONTENT AS EXCERPTS FOUND IN ANOTHER OR OTHER GOSPELS, WHICH THE LATTER EXCERPTS IN THESE GOSPELS OCCUR WITHIN DIFFERENT TIMEFRAMES FROM THE CORRESPONDING FORMER EXCERPTS
IN OTHER WORDS, JESUS HAS DONE / SAID THE SAME THING NOT NECESSARILY IN THE SAME WORDS AT DIFFERENT TIMES AND PLACES, AS IS TYPICAL OF ITINERANT PREACHING
Each gospel author has selected excerpts from Jesus' actions and teaching. Some of these excerpts, although not worded precisely the same, have the same content as excerpts found in another or other gospels, which the latter excerpts in these gospels occur within different timeframes from the corresponding former excerpts. In other words, Jesus has done / said the same thing at different times and places, as is typical of itinerant preaching.
1) The Four Gospels Have In Common The Message Of Jesus That The Righteousness Of God (1) Was The Standard By Which An Individual Was To Conduct His Temporal Life. (2) Must Be Attributed To An Individual In Order To Gain Entrance Into The Eternal Kingdom Of Heaven. But Any Acceptable Righteous Contribution By The Individual Himself Is Not Attainable Except Through A Moment Of Faith Alone In Christ. Alone. (3) Would Be Enforced Upon Residents Of The Kingdom Of Heaven
The four gospels have in common the message of Jesus that the Righteousness of God (1) was the standard by which an individual was to conduct his temporal life, (Mt chapters 5-7; Lk chapters 6, 9, 11; 12). (2) must be attributed to an individual in order to gain entrance into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven but any acceptable righteous contribution by the individual himself was not attainable, (Mt 3-4, 5:20; 48; Mk 1; Lk 3; 10:25-28; Jn 1). (3) would be enforced upon residents of the Kingdom of Heaven, (Mt 5:1-7ff).
a) The standard by which an individual was to conduct his temporal life is the Righteousness of God
b) The Righteousness of God must be attributed to an individual in order to gain entrance into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven (God). But this is unattainable through the efforts of the individual.
i) [Mt 5:48]:
(Mt 5:48 NKJV) "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
With man this is impossible.
ii) [Mk 10:17-22 (cf Mt 19:13-26)]:
(Mk 10:17 NKJV) '''Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
(Mk 10:18 NKJV) So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
(Mk 10:19 NKJV) You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery', 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother."
(Mk 10:20 NKJV) And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth."
(Mk 10:21 NKJV) Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."
(Mk 10:22 NKJV) But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
(Mk 10:23 NKJV) Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!"
(Mk 10:24 NKJV) And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!"
(Mk 10:25 NKJV) It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
(Mk 10:26 NKJV) And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?"
(Mk 10:27 NKJV) But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." '''
With man, to keep the commandments throughout ones life in order to inherit eternal life is impossible.
iii) [Lk 10:25-37]:
(Lk 10:25 NKJV) "And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, 'Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'
(Lk 10:26 NKJV) He said to him, 'What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?'
(Lk 10:27 NKJV) So He answered and said, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.'
(Lk 10:28 NKJV) And He said to him, 'You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.'
(Lk 10:29 NKJV) But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?
(Lk 10:30 NKJV) Then Jesus answered and said: 'A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among theives, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
(Lk 10:31 NKJV) Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
(Lk 10:32 NKJV) Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
(Lk 10:33 NKJV) But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.
(Lk 10:34 NKJV) So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
(Lk 10:35 NKJV) On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'
(Lk 10:36 NKJV) So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?
(Lk 10:37 NKJV) And he said, 'He who showed mercy on him.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Go and do likewise.' "
Notice that Jesus presented the lawyer with an impossible task to exemplify the Righteousness of God in his temporal life in order to inherit eternal life.
c) The Righteousness of God must be attributed to an individual in order to gain entrance into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven (God). But this is only attained through a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone
i) [Mt 1:18-23; 3:1-3; 4:17]:
(Mt 1:18 NKJV) '''Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
(Mt 1:19 NKJV) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
(Mt 1:20 NKJV) But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
(Mt 1:21 NKJV) And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
(Mt 3:1 NKJV) [Now] in in those days John the Baptist [comes] preaching in the wilderness of Judea
(Mt 3:2 NKJV) and saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"
(Mt 3:3 YLT) for this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "A voice of one crying [out] in the wilderness, 'Prepare... the way of the LORD, straight make... His paths.' "
Author Matthew indicates in Mt 3:1-3 with a qualifying reference to the book of Isaiah that John the Baptist preached exclusively to Israel, saying "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" In verse 3, author Matthew interjected this qualifying reference to Isaiah, '''for this is he [John the Baptist] who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, " A voice of one crying [out] in the wilderness [to Israel], 'Prepare... the way of the LORD, straight make... His paths ." '" So the Greek word "metanoeite," which literally breaks down to: "meta" = "to change" and "noeite" = the mind, and which is rendered "repent" in the NAS, conveys in Matthew 3:1-3 the message that should every one of national Israel change his mind from rejecting to trusting in the coming Messiah / Son to be delivered by Him from one's sins unto eternal life and residence in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, hence to have God account His gift of perfect righteousness to each one as he believes, (cf. Mt 1:21); then God's Eternal Kingdom of Heaven rule would begin on the earth. Author Matthew implied in Mt 3:3 that John the Baptist was the one the prophet Isaiah was referring to as the Baptist announced that it was Jesus Christ Himself Who was that Messiah / Son Who would deliver His people from their sins, (cf. Mt 1:18-23; 3:13-17).
ii) [Mk 1:1-4; 14-15]:
(Mk 1:1 NKJV) '''The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
(Mk 1:2 NKJV) As it is written in the Prophets: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.
(Mk 1:3 NKJV) The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.' "
(Mk 1:4 NKJV) John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
(Mk 1:14 NKJV) "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God,
(Mk 1:15 NKJV) and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.' "
Notice that the way into the Kingdom of God is through remission of sins through a moment of repentance, that is to say, a moment of believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, i.e., of believing in being saved from ones sins through the provision of the Righteousness of God through the coming of LORD / Messiah / Savior Jesus Christ - through His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
iii) [Jn 3:14-21]:
(Jn 3:14 NIV) "[And] just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
(Jn 3:15 NKJV) that whoever believes in Him should not perish but [should] have eternal life.
(Jn 3:16 NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but [should] have eternal life.
(Jn 3:16 NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but [should] have eternal life.
(Jn 3:17 NKJV) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
(Jn 3:18 NKJV) He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the [one and only] Son of God.
(Jn 3:19 NAS) This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
(Jn 3:20 NAS) For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come [face to face with] the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
(Jn 3:21 NKJV) But he who does the truth comes to the Light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God, (lit., by means of or through God)."
Notice that only those who have expressed a moment of faith alone in Christ alone are not judged to be condemned, but have eternal life. Those who rely on their deeds, which it is implied are those who have not believed, are characterized as doing evil. Since all men love darkness and cannot produce anything that is acceptable as contributory towards an individual's salvation unto eternal life; then all those who are unbelievers, stand condemned already.
J) [DIFFERENT CONTENT, SAME EVENT]
EACH GOSPEL AUTHOR HAS SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM JESUS' ACTIONS AND TEACHING. SOME OF THESE EXCERPTS ARE DIFFERENT IN CONTEXT FROM EXCERPTS FOUND IN ANOTHER OR OTHER GOSPELS WHICH THE LATTER EXCERPTS OCCUR IN THE SAME TIMEFRAMES OF THE CORRESPONDING FORMER EXCERPTS
IN OTHER WORDS, THE AUTHORS OF THE GOSPELS DID NOT REPORT ON EVERYTHING JESUS DID AND TAUGHT AT EVERY TIME AND PLACE DURING HIS MINISTRY
Each gospel author has selected excerpts from Jesus' actions and teaching. Some of these excerpts are different in context from excerpts found in another or other gospels which the latter excerpts occur in the same timeframes of the corresponding former excerpts. In other words, the authors of the gospels did not report on everything Jesus did and taught at every time and place during his ministry.
1) Except For The Gospel Of John, Accounts Of John The Baptist Do Not Contain Content That Stipulates A Moment Of Faith Alone In Christ Alone Unto Eternal Life, (Mt 3:1-17; Mk 1:1-15; Lk 3:1-22; Jn 3:22-36)
a) [Jn 3:36]:
(Jn 3:36 NAS) "He who believes in the Son has eternal life: [but] he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him"
Notice that at the end of author John's account relative to John the Baptist, there is a stipulation not included in the other three gospels in their accounts relative to John the Baptist, namely, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life: [but] he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him," (Jn 3:36).
K) [DIFFERENT CONTENT TO ONE OR MORE GOSPELS]
EACH GOSPEL AUTHOR HAS SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM JESUS' ACTIONS AND TEACHING. SOME OF THESE EXCERPTS DO NOT APPEAR IN ONE OR MORE OF THE OTHER GOSPELS.
IN OTHER WORDS, NONE OF THE AUTHORS OF THE GOSPELS REPORTED ON EVERYTHING JESUS DID IN HIS MINISTRY OR REPORTED EVERYTHING THE OTHER GOSPEL AUTHORS REPORTED
Each gospel author has selected excerpts from Jesus' actions and teaching. Some of these excerpts do not appear in one or more of the other gospels. In other words, none of the authors of the gospels reported on everything Jesus did in His ministry, or reported everything the other gospel authors reported.
1) Relative To What One Must Do To Have Eternal Life, The Gospel Of John Is Unique In That It Alone Directly Stipulates That A Moment Of Faith Alone In Christ Alone Is What Is Required In Order To Have Eternal Life In Timeframes That Are Both Common To One Or More Gospel Accounts And Timeframes That Are Unique To John
Early in His ministry, Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, a Ruler of the Jews, as reported by John in which Jesus told Nicodemus, who was evidently open to and seeking Jesus, to become born again, that he must believe on the Son in order to have eternal life. . The doctrinal information in this account in John does not appear in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
2) Relative To What One Must Do To Have Eternal Life, All Four Gospels Present The Case That All Men Lack The Self Justification Capacity, I.E., Their Own Righteousness To Inherit Eternal Life
On the other hand, the authors of and Mark and Luke and especially Matthew; and John less often selected actions and teachings of Jesus which referred to Old Testament Scripture presenting them in a distinctly Jewish manner assuming a familiarity with the passages, in order to convey to His audience that every one especially Jews were absolutely spiritually bankrupt, lacking the self-justification capacity, i.e., their own righteousness to inherit eternal life. Jews especially must be convinced that being a Jew or keeping the Law does not guarantee eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Hence each one was left with only one recourse: to trust in a coming Messiah / Savior as reported in Scripture to provide His Righteousness for one unto eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
a) [Compare Mt 1:21-23]:
(Mt 1:21 NKJV) And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
(Mt 1:22 NKJV) So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
(Mt 1:23 NKJV) "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God with us.' "
For example, Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:31-44; Lk 9:11-17 and Jn 6:1-70 cover the same event of Jesus' miraculous feedings of the 5,000. Then author John selected to report on the account of Jesus walking on water across the Lake to Capurnaum immediately after the feeding of the 5,000 account which included a selection of what He taught His disciples and those of the crowd who followed Him across the Sea of Galilee. These excerpts include repeated statements which stipulated or implied that eternal life was exclusively through a moment of faith alone in Christ alone plus nothing else.
L) [SUMMARY OF CONTENTS]:
SUCCESSION TO A THRONE IS OFTEN A TIME OF CONFLICT AND UNCERTAINTY
David's son Absalom tried to usurp the throne (2 Sam. 15:1-18:18). Solomon's choice of successor lost more than half the kingdom to a traitor (1 Kin. 12:20). Menahem assassinated his predecessor in Israel (2 Kin. 15:14). Royalty is a dangerous business. This is no less true when the heir is the King of kings. If ever there was a high-stakes succession, this was it. A Man claims to be Israel's own Messiah; of course all Israel sits up and takes notice. Of course He must prove His credentials: Who wants an impostor? The Book of Matthew presents Jesus' credentials. It presents Jesus as the King, but King of a totally different kingdom - the kingdom of heaven.
AUTHOR AND DATE
This Gospel does not name its author, but it does contain clues. The author knew the geography of Palestine well (2:1; 8:5; 20:29; 26:6). He was familiar with Jewish history, customs, ideas, and classes of people (1:18, 19; 2:1; 14:1; 26:3; 27:2). He was well acquainted with the Old Testament (1:2,16, 22, 23; 2:6; 4:14?16; 12:17?21; 13:35; 21:4; 27:9). And the terminology of the book suggests that the author was a Palestinian Jew (2:20; 4:5; 5:35; 10:6; 15:24; 17:24?27; 18:17; 27:53). Other details point specifically to Jesus' disciple Matthew as the writer of this Gospel. As a tax collector, Matthew would have been literate and familiar with keeping records of money. Appropriately, this Gospel contains more references to money than any of the others. Furthermore, Matthew's hometown was Capernaum, a village that is given special attention in this Gospel. When Capernaum is mentioned, some special description is usually attached to it (4:13; 11:23). Matthew wrote the Gospel before the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. He describes Jerusalem in the book as the 'holy city' and as though it was still standing (4:5; 27:53), and he speaks of the customs of the Jews as continuing until 'this day' (27:8; 28:15). Furthermore, Jesus' prophecy (recorded in 24:2) of Jerusalem's destruction includes no indication that it had already occurred when Matthew wrote Jesus' words. In light of all of this, it is reasonable to conclude that the book was written sometime between a.d. 50 and 60.
The Gospel of Matthew has many Jewish overtones. For example, the term 'kingdom of heaven' appears 33 times and the term 'kingdom of God' four times. No other Gospel lays such stress on the kingdom; the restoration of the glories of David's kingdom was a burning hope for many Jews at the time. Matthew clearly identifies Jesus with that hope by using the Jewish royal title 'Son of David' nine times in his Gospel. Furthermore he calls Jerusalem 'the holy city' (4:5; 27:53) and the 'city of the great King' (5:35), both uniquely Jewish ways of referring to it. First-century Jews emphasized righteousness, and Matthew uses the words 'righteous' and 'righteousness' more often than the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John combined. Matthew also discusses the law, ceremonial cleanness, the Sabbath, the temple, David, the Messiah, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and Moses' all from a Jewish point of view. He has 53 Old Testament citations and more than 70 allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures. Thirteen times, the book emphasizes that Jesus' actions were a direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. The genealogy of chapter 1 is recognizably Jewish, tracing the lineage of Jesus back through David to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. Furthermore the Gospel mentions Jewish rulers (see 2:1, 22; 14:1) and customs such as ceremonial washing (see 15:2) without explanation, indicating that Matthew expected his predominantly Jewish audience to be familiar with such practices.
Matthew's Gospel serves several purposes beyond presenting a mere biography of Jesus. One purpose is to prove to Jewish readers that Jesus is their Messiah and promised King. The genealogy in chapter 1 points to Christ as the One who inherited God's promises to David of an eternal dynasty. Jesus' use of a familiar messianic psalm in Matthew 22:41-44 would have clearly implied to any Jew that He was the heir of the Davidic throne. Even though many Jews of Jesus' time were blind to Jesus' identity, Gentiles (such as the wise men) identified Him as Israel's promised King when He was a baby. Finally, the charge that hung above Jesus' head on the Cross clearly highlights His royalty: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS (27:37). But most important, the Book of Matthew proves Jesus' legitimate authority by highlighting His wise teaching and righteous life (7:28, 29). Another purpose of the book is to outline the characteristics of the kingdom of God, both for Israel and the church. Orthodox Jews would typically scoff at any assertion that Jesus is their Messiah, let alone their King. They would retort, 'If Jesus is King, where is the promised restoration of the kingdom of Israel?' Many Jews of Jesus' day rejected Him as Messiah, even though both Jesus and John the Baptist continually preached that the kingdom was 'at hand' (3:2; 4:17; 10:7). This rejection of Jesus by the Jews is a dominant theme of Matthew (11:12-24; 12:28-45; 21:33-22:14). Because of this rejection, God postponed the fulfillment of His promises to Israel and subsequently extended His blessings to both Jew and Gentile in the church. Matthew is the only Gospel writer who speaks directly of the church (16:18; 18:17). He points to the Gentile composition of this church by including several stories of the Gentiles' faith in Jesus: the wise men, the centurion, and the Canaanite woman. He records Jesus' prediction that the gospel will be preached to all nations (24:14), and the commission to the disciples to 'make disciples of all the nations' (28:19). Jesus' teaching pointed to the blessings of the kingdom being extended to Gentiles. But one day, Israel will be restored to its place of blessing (see Rom. 11:25-27; 15:8, 9). A final purpose of Matthew is to instruct the church. An obvious clue to this is in the Great Commission: 'teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you' (28:20). The discipling process involves instruction in the words of Christ, and the Gospel of Matthew revolves around five of Jesus' discourses (5:1-7:28; 10:5-11:1; 13:3-53; 18:2-19:1; 24:4-26:1). Instead of emphasizing a narrative of Jesus' life as Mark does, Matthew uses the narrative elements in his Gospel as a setting for Jesus' sermons.
CHRIST IN THE SCRIPTURES
Matthew, as a Jew, unashamedly shapes his account about Jesus' life so it is understood by a Jewish audience. His goal is to convince his peers that the King of kings has come. With this in mind, he uses terms and names that Jews will resonate with. By quoting more passages from the Old Testament than any other New Testament writer, he attempts to validate that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah. No less than 12 times Matthew presents Jesus as Israel's Messianic King (1:23; 2:2, 6; 3:17; 4:15-17; 21:5, 9; 22:44, 45; 26:64; 27:11, 27-37). Also unique to Matthew is the expression, 'that it might be fulfilled' which was spoken by various prophets. By footnoting familiar passages the Jews accepted as God's inspired Word, Matthew builds his case for Christ with the precision of a former tax collector. Examine for yourself how he substantiates the prophecies that pointed to Jesus' miraculous and obscure birth, His birthplace, His exile to Egypt and return to Israel, and His rejection and suffering. No wonder Matthew begins his book with an impressive genealogy of Jesus' link to King David.
MARK'S GOSPEL IS UNIQUE.
It is not a biography of Jesus, like Matthew or Luke, for it does not dwell on Jesus' family history or career. Instead, this Gospel is a record of Jesus' actions and achievements. It presents Jesus as a Savior-King, who conquers demons, disease, and death. The emphasis on Jesus' mighty and miraculous works makes this Gospel action-packed, fresh, and vivid. Mark constantly uses the present tense to create the impression of an eyewitness account - the kind presented by an on-the-spot reporter. And just like a reporter, he speaks directly to the reader. He uses rhetorical questions that readers would likely ask themselves, such as, 'Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!' (4:41). Sometimes he even addresses his audience with Jesus' words, 'And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!' (13:37). Mark wants to transform believers with his report, not merely inform them. Moreover, his eyewitness accounts provide considerable detail - the emotional responses of Jesus and others, the sizes and reactions of crowds, and the appearance of men and women. The account of the Gadarene demoniac is an example of Mark's attention to detail. He uses 20 verses to tell that story, while Luke uses 14 and Matthew writes a mere seven. Yet Mark's Gospel is the most concise of all of the Gospels, because he omits Jesus' longer discourses. In general, Mark presents the miracle-working Jesus, not the teaching Jesus.
The Gospel of Mark does not identify its author. However, numerous documents from the early church unanimously point to Mark as the author. Papias, bishop of Hierapolis (a.d. 140), claimed that Mark, as Peter's interpreter, wrote an accurate Gospel. The Roman Prologue to Mark, dating from a.d. 160-180, also named Mark as the author, and Irenaeus, in France around a.d. 180, claimed that Mark wrote down Peter's preaching. This is repeated by Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria, both in North Africa around a.d. 200. Mark is mentioned ten times in the New Testament. His Jewish name was John (Acts 13:5, 13), but his Roman name was Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37). He lived in Jerusalem and was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10). He might have been the youth wearing a linen cloth at Jesus' arrest (14:51, 52), because only his Gospel mentions this incident, which occurred after all the disciples had already fled. The fact that Peter announced his miraculous jail escape at the home of Mary, Mark's widowed mother (Acts 12:12), indicates Mark had significant contact with Peter and the other leaders of the Jerusalem church. In a.d. 46, Mark spent time with Barnabas and Saul in the Antioch Church before he accompanied them as a helper on the first missionary journey. His unexpected departure from that expedition, however, caused Paul to lose confidence in him (Acts 15:37-39). Yet Mark later continued his missionary activity with Barnabas on Cyprus. By a.d. 60-62, Paul again had placed his confidence in Mark and had complimented him as a fellow worker (Col. 4:10, 11; Philem. 24). In addition to helping Paul and Barnabas, Mark assisted Peter in 'Babylon' (1 Pet. 5:13). Finally, Paul asked Mark to come to Rome to assist him while he was confined (2 Tim. 4:11). These short, positive references to Mark in the New Testament indicate that he faithfully and successfully served God as a missionary and apostolic helper throughout the period. Composition - Peter was Mark's primary informant. In fact, the outline of events in Mark's Gospel follows precisely the outline of Peter's sermon to Cornelius at Caesarea (Acts 10:34-43; compare Acts 13:23-33). Oral preaching at that time, such as Peter's sermon, used established styles and rhetorical techniques to aid both instruction and recall; Mark's Gospel reflects these oral styles. Furthermore, Justin Martyr, writing at about a.d. 150 in Rome, confirmed that Mark wrote down Peter's recollection of events. He quoted Mark 3:17 as being in 'the Memoirs of Peter.' In addition to recording Peter's memories, Mark may have added his own memories and consulted other documents. Most agree that Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome under Peter's supervision. A second-century document, called the Prologue to Mark, states that the Gospel was composed in Italy. Furthermore, Irenaeus, writing about a.d. 180, specifically stated Rome. Since Mark was with Paul in Rome around a.d. 60-62 and may have returned around a.d. 65 at Paul's request (2 Tim. 4:11), there is little reason to doubt this evidence. Several important early sources, including the Anti-Marcionite Prologue and Irenaeus, stated that Mark composed his Gospel after Peter's death. In fact, Irenaeus dated its composition after both Peter and Paul's death around a.d. 67. However Clement of Alexandria and Origen, writing a few years after Irenaeus, insisted that Peter was still alive during Mark's writing of the book. Moreover, a later tradition, recorded by Eusebius about a.d. 340, stated that it was written earlier, during the reign of Claudius (a.d. 41-54). Finally, an inscription on later manuscripts dated Mark's composition at an even earlier date around a.d. 39-42. These early dates, however, seem doubtful because (1) Mark probably would not have written the Gospel before his first failed missionary journey, (2) Peter most likely was not in Rome until after a.d. 60, and (3) Paul's Epistle to the Romans (about a.d. 56-57) greets many believers, but mentions neither Mark nor Peter. The most thoughtful estimate would place Mark's work sometime after Peter's death in a.d. 64 or 65, yet prior to a.d. 70, when Jerusalem was destroyed. In any event, the Gospel of Mark was penned within only three or four decades after the events it records.
Mark wrote for Gentile Christians, especially Romans. This conclusion is based on several facts: (1) Mark assumes some prior knowledge of the Christian faith on the part of his readers. John (the Baptist), baptism, and the Holy Spirit (1:4, 5, 8) are all mentioned without comment. (2) He does not assume a familiarity with Jewish Scripture. He directly quotes only one Old Testament passage (1:2, 3). (3) Furthermore, he regularly explains Jewish customs and geography (7:2-4; 13:3; 14:12). (4) Finally, Mark purposely omits Jesus' prohibition of preaching to the Samaritans and Gentiles (6:7-11; compare Matt. 10:5, 6). Mark's Gentile readers faced persecution and martyrdom. He wrote his Gospel to strengthen and guide Roman believers through Nero's terrible persecutions. First of all, his readers needed to know that Jesus had also suffered. But, they also needed to know that Jesus, after his suffering, had triumphed over both suffering and death. The suffering Jesus was also the Son of God (1:1, 11; 14:61; 15:39), the Son of Man (2:10; 8:31; 13:26), the Christ (Messiah) (8:29), and the Lord (1:3; 7:28). After the death of Peter and other eyewitnesses to Jesus' life, this gospel message needed to be written down. Mark wrote the story down in order to verify these truths and to provide a way to pass them on to new generations of believers.
Mark introduces the main character of his action-packed narrative, Jesus, in 13 quick verses. He weaves in this introduction both expectation ('Prepare the way of the Lord,' 1:3) and conflict (Satan tempts Christ in v. 13). The large section that follows (1:14-8:30) heightens the conflict, as in a Greek tragedy. There are successes for Jesus, but there is also growing hostility. Triumph and conflict appear side by side. This long section culminates in Peter and the other disciples recognizing Jesus as the promised Messiah (8:29). In the next section (8:31-15:47), Mark describes the final outcome for the Messiah 'Jesus' passion and death. First, Jesus announces His coming death to His disciples (8:31; 9:31; 10:33) and prepares them for it. Then, He journeys to Jerusalem and is tried and put to death. But in the epilogue (16:1-20), the purpose of His death becomes clear. The drama comes to a rousing conclusion as Christ rises from the dead and encourages His followers. This is the Gospel of Mark'the Good News of Jesus Christ.
CHRIST IN THE SCRIPTURES
Christ in the Scriptures Mark leaves no doubt that he is documenting a unique account of a unique man. He's spotlighting the Son of Man who came from heaven to serve, not to be served, and to give His life as a ransom (10:45). So in Mark we see Jesus the obedient Servant of God actively and compassionately coming alongside hurting people. But it's not just the physical hurts that haunt Him. Jesus is moved by the spiritual disease He sees all around Him. If Mark's intent is to present Jesus as a humble Servant, there is no need for an impressive family tree (like Matthew and Luke include). That is why the author begins with Jesus' public ministry. Mark's frequent use of the word 'immediately' (used more in this compact book than all the rest of the New Testament) reminds us that Jesus is continually on the move. Even though He knows He has a limited time to fulfill the purpose for which He came to earth, others don't. What they do come to understand is that Jesus viewed Himself as the Son of God. Mark attests to that frequently (see 1:1, 11; 3:1; 5:7; 9:7; 13:32; 14:61; 15:39).
SOMETIMES WE NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK TO GAIN PERSPECTIVE
It is one thing for three of Jesus' twelve disciples to write about the life of Christ; it is quite another for someone who did not know Him to write about Him. Luke never met Jesus, yet chose to follow Him. An obviously educated man who, as Colossians 4:14 tells us, was a physician, Luke learned all that he could about Jesus and shared his findings with us. Thus his Gospel provides a 'step back,' a unique perspective on Jesus' birth, ministry, death, and resurrection.
Neither Luke nor Acts has a byline, so we are left to deduce the author's identity. The author writes that he was not an eyewitness to the events surrounding Jesus but had gathered the reports of others. On the other hand, the author was present with Paul at some of the events described in Acts, events that belong to the 'we' sections of Acts (see Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16). So the author must have been a lately converted Christian who knew Paul and sometimes traveled with him. Early Christian writings, from the works of Justin Martyr to Tertullian, identify the author as Luke, an identification that was firmly in place by the third century a.d. Luke was an educated man by ancient standards. He was capable of writing in high Greek style, and Colossians 4:10-14 seems to indicate that Luke was not 'of the circumcision,' that is, not Jewish. If so, Luke would be the only Gentile author of a New Testament book. Tradition says that after accompanying Paul on some of his missionary journeys, Luke settled in Philippi, investing his life in the ministry of the Philippian church.
Neither Luke nor Acts indicates when they were written, so this too must be deduced. The last event recorded in the Book of Acts is the first Roman imprisonment of Paul; therefore, the earliest Acts could have been written is a.d. 62. Most scholars choose between two times for the Gospel: early to late sixties, or mid-seventies to late eighties. Two factors determine the choice: the date of the other Gospels and the portrayal of the fall of Jerusalem in Luke. Almost everyone considers Luke the second or third Gospel to be written, though they debate whether Mark or Matthew was the first. The first Gospel, whether Matthew or Mark, is usually dated in the sixties. Those who place Matthew and Mark in the sixties often date Luke after a.d. 70, to allow time for the circulation of Matthew and Mark. Another reason given for dating Luke after a.d. 70 is the claim that Luke presents Jesus' predictions of the fall of Jerusalem (19:41-44; 21:20-24) in such a way as to indicate that the city had already fallen. Neither of these arguments is decisive. Given that the major figures of the early church had contact with one another, there is no reason to assume that it took a decade for a major Gospel to get into circulation. The prediction of the fall of Jerusalem in Luke is unique among the Gospel accounts in focusing on the fall of the city and not merely the destruction of the temple. Thus what Jesus describes is a judgment which is the result of covenant unfaithfulness, similar to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 b.c. The fact that Luke includes Jesus' prediction of a second fall of the city does not mean the city had already been destroyed when the book was written. Since the sequel to Luke, the Book of Acts, does not record either Peter's death, Paul's death, or even the fall of Jerusalem (in the face of Jesus' clear prediction of it), it is most likely that Luke was written in the early to mid-sixties. A date in the later sixties is also possible.
The Gospel of Luke is unique in several ways. It is the only Gospel that has a sequel, Acts. Both Luke and Acts include an account of the Ascension, an event that only Luke describes in detail. Second, Luke is the longest of the four Gospels. Third, Luke records a wide variety of miracles, teaching, and parables, making it the fullest portrait of Jesus' ministry. Much of the material in chapters 9-19 appears only in Luke; in all, about one-third of the Gospel of Luke is unique. Fourth, Luke is the only Gospel addressed to an individual. Luke writes for Theophilus, who was probably a Gentile believer. For Luke, Jesus is the promised Messiah (1:31-35), the Son of God (9:35), the Servant through whom God works (4:16-18), and the Lord who is called to sit at God's right hand exerting His authority and giving the Spirit to those who believe (compare 22:69 with Acts 2:30-36). Though aspects of God's plan are fulfilled in Jesus' First Coming, other parts of the plan remain to be fulfilled when Jesus returns (21:5-36; Acts 3:14-26). Luke wrote his Gospel to reassure Theophilus, a Gentile and a new believer, that God was still at work in the Christian community founded by Jesus. Luke presents God's grace as revealed in Jesus' ministry on earth. He emphasizes that this grace is available to Gentiles, even though the promises relating to Jesus' ministry stretch back into Israel's history (1:1-4). For this reason Luke also concentrates on Jesus' relationship to the nation and leaders of Israel. The rejection of Israel does not mean the failure of God's plan. On the contrary, although they did not know it, their rejection was part of God's plan from the beginning (Acts 2:22-39). In fact, persecution of the Christian community would be the means by which the church would spread the Good News throughout the world. Jesus Himself had predicted that this would happen (24:45-48).
STRUCTURE AND OVERVIEW
The first two chapters of Luke emphasize the Old Testament and its promises of a Messiah, while 3:1-4:13 demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah, who can resist the Evil One. Then, 4:14-9:50 introduce Jesus' power and teaching. In these chapters, Luke records Jesus' claims to authority and the numerous miracles that supported them. Even with these miracles as evidence, the people rejected Jesus while the disciples' faith in Him steadily grew. The growing rift between Jesus and the Jewish leadership is seen in 9:51-19:44. This breach is emphasized most in chapters 9-13, but in chapters 14'19 attention turns to Jesus' instruction of His disciples. The last section (19:45-24:53) portrays the final controversies, the trial, the death of Jesus, and the Resurrection and Ascension. The book ends with Jesus telling the disciples to wait for the coming of the Spirit. By now, they should have realized that everything that had taken place in Jesus' life was promised in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (24:43-49). Jesus is the promised Messiah. Forgiveness of sin can be obtained only through Him. The disciples were witnesses to this fact; their mission was to share this Good News with all nations, not merely the Jews. Jesus gave them this task, but He also provided them with the power to carry it out (24:47). Thus it is clear that Luke's Gospel centers on God's plan to provide salvation to the world. It closes anticipating the spread of the gospel that is recorded in its sequel, the Book of Acts.
CHRIST IN THE SCRIPTURES
Just like we'd expect from a family doctor, Dr. Luke sensitively describes Jesus as One who reaches out personally and heals those who are mercilessly caged by devastating illnesses. As a person, He is concerned with people. Whereas Matthew likes to refer to Jesus as the Son of David and Mark refers to Him as the Son of God, Luke's favorite expression is 'the Son of Man.' Jesus' humanity and compassion are repeatedly stressed by the author. This, coupled with Luke's portrayal of Jesus' sinless perfection, set up his logical conclusion. Because Jesus is the only perfect person born of a woman and because He identifies compassionately with the plight of suffering sinful people, He alone is qualified to carry our sorrows, bear our sin, and offer us the priceless gift of salvation.
THE WORDS, 'READ THIS FIRST'
have taken an important role in the packaging of modern consumer products. Most consumers think life is too short for instruction manuals, so the packagers state it plainly: If you cannot read the manual, at least read this very important part. 'Read This First' 'it is for your own good. The Gospel of John makes a similar claim. It is the only book in the Bible that states its purpose clearly and succinctly: It was written to tell individuals how to find eternal life (20:31). This clearly identified purpose sets the Gospel of John apart from the other Gospels. It is not so much a life of Jesus as it is a powerful presentation of His deity. Every chapter presents evidence-both signs and statements-for His divine authority. According to John, believing that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, is the beginning of eternal life (3:14-17). What could be more important' John's statement about his Gospel is as good as a 'Read This First' sticker for one's entire life.
The author of the Gospel of John does not identify himself by name, but his identity can be learned from the dialogue recorded in 21:19-24. The author calls himself 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (21:20), a designation that occurs four other times in the book (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7). This was the same 'disciple who' 'wrote these things' (21:24). The author had to be one of the twelve apostles, because he is described as leaning on Jesus' bosom at the Last Supper, an event to which only the apostles were invited (13:23; see Mark 14:17). These details imply that he was one of the three disciples closest to Jesus: Peter, James, or John (see Matt. 17:1). He could not be Peter, because 21:20 states that Peter looked back and saw this one Jesus loved, and in another place asked a question of him (13:23, 24). On the other hand, James was martyred too early to be the author of this Gospel (see Acts 12:1, 2). Thus it is reasonable to conclude that this book was written by the apostle John. This conclusion is supported by early Christians such as Polycarp (a.d. 60-155), who was a follower of John.
In the nineteenth century, many critics claimed that the Gospel of John was written around a.d. 170. Then in 1935 C. H. Roberts discovered a scrap of papyrus in Egypt containing portions of 18:31-33, 37, 38 that disproved their theory. This fragment, the Rylands papyrus, was written around a.d. 125. The Gospel itself must have been written before a.d. 125, or even a.d. 110, allowing time for it to be copied and then carried to Egypt. Conservative scholars typically date the book between a.d. 85 and a.d. 95. The book makes no reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, implying that such a significant event must have occurred many years earlier. Moreover, the statement about Peter in 21:18, 23 seems to indicate that the Gospel was written when John was an old man. Only then would John have had to explain the death of Peter, or contend with a long-standing rumor of the early church. Others have suggested a date before a.d. 70 on the basis of 5:2, which indicates that Jerusalem was still standing. But there is a question about the interpretation of the tense of the verb to be. It is likely that the reason John used the present tense in this verse was to describe Jerusalem vividly, not to describe its present condition. Without more evidence than the tense of the verb in 5:2, the date of around a.d. 90 still seems most reasonable.
The Gospel of John is a persuasive argument for the deity of Jesus. It concentrates on presenting Jesus as the Word, that is, God (1:1) who became a man (1:14). Thus John meticulously records the statements and describes the miracles of Jesus that can only be attributed to God Himself. Jesus called Himself the bread of life (6:35, 41, 48, 51), the light of the world (8:12; 9:5), the door for the sheep (10:7, 9), the good shepherd (10:11, 14), the resurrection and the life (11:25), the way, the truth, the life (14:6), and the true vine (15:1, 5). Each of these statements begins with the words, 'I am,' recalling God's revelation of His name, 'I AM,' to Moses (see Ex. 3:14). Jesus did not say He gave bread; He said He is the Bread which gives life. He did not say He would teach the way, the truth, and the life; instead He said He is the Way, because He is the Truth and the Life. These are Jesus' clear claims to deity: He was not a mere man. Then there are the signs of Jesus' deity. Miracles in the Gospel of John are called 'signs' because they point to Jesus' divine nature. John records seven such signs: changing water into wine (2:1-11), healing a man's son (4:46-54), healing a lame man (5:1-9), multiplying bread and fish (6:1-14), walking on water (6:15-21), healing a blind man (9:1-7), and raising Lazarus (11:38-44). These miracles show that Jesus is God; He possesses power over nature. Other indications of Jesus' deity include the testimonies of John the Baptist (1:32-34), Nathanael (1:49), the blind man (9:35-38), Martha (11:27), and Thomas (20:28) - not to mention Jesus' own words (5:19-26). Jesus was also fully man. His body grew weary (4:6), His soul was troubled (12:27; 13:21), and He groaned in His spirit (11:33). At the same time, this God-man was Israel's Messiah. Andrew told his brother, 'We have found the Messiah' (1:41). Nathanael concluded, 'You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!' (1:49). Even the Samaritan woman testified to Jesus' identity (4:25, 26, 29). Jesus the Messiah was and is the Savior of the world (4:42; 11:27; 12:13). John urges us to trust in Jesus for eternal life. Our trust is built on our belief that (1) the Father is in Christ, and Christ is in the Father (10:38; 14:10, 11); (2) Christ came from God (16:17, 30), and God sent Him (11:42; 17:8, 21; see 6:29); and (3) He is the Son of God (6:69; 11:27; 20:31). John reveals the Bible's most important message: Believe and follow Jesus, because He is the way to eternal life.
CHRIST IN THE SCRIPTURES
John focuses on Jesus' claim that He was God by including Christ's seven 'I am' statements: 'I am the bread of life' (6:35, 48); 'I am the light of the world' (8:12); 'I am the door' (10:7, 9); 'I am the good shepherd' (10:11, 14); 'I am the resurrection and the life' (11:25); 'I am the way, the truth, and the life' (14:6); 'I am the true vine' (15:1). John doesn't take any chances that we might miss what these 'I am' statements suggest. He records certain occasions when Jesus equates Himself with the Old Testament 'I AM' (Yahweh). You can't be more specific that than this: 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM' (8:58).